Rug Woven From T-shirts




Introduction: Rug Woven From T-shirts

T-shirts are a great source for recycle projects.

I was inspired by Make a braided t-shirt rug by suzelac to make my own braided t-shirt rug..

Also helpful was an instructable for T-shirt yarn by jessyratfink


So next I decided to make more t-shirt yarn and weave a run.
I don't know a lot about weaving but I had and idea to lasercut some parts and see what I can do..

Step 1: Making Gathering Materials..

My t-shirt supply was depleted from my previous project so I went to Goodwill and got several XXXL t-shirts... trying to get only all cotton. I washed them and then made t-shirt yarn...

Simple weaving (the kind I remember from making pot holders in grade school) is a matter if one up - one down.

My thought was to make some sort of device to hold the strands of yarn... I think this is called a heddle?

I drew it in Illustrator and cut it out on a scrap of acrylic at TechShop. I also made four yarn holders for the yarn that goes back and forth. (note in the picture, there were not enough for all the yarn colors so I also made some out of cardboard).

Step 2: Setting Up the Loom

I didn't make a proper loom frame - I used a variety of pieces of scrap wood to tie something together... using my dining room table as a base (this is great encouragement to get the project done!)

My estimate for the rug dimensions was roughly 24 inches by 36 inches.. The hettle was 24 inches..
and the setup on the table was approximately 40 inches long by 30 inches wide.

Each of the 6 colors of yarn was

  • tied on an end,
  • looped through a slot on the heddle,
  • looped over the back bar,
  • threaded through a hole in the heddle
  • then tied at the return end.

then the next color.. through all the colors.
repeat with the colors.. until all holes and slots on the heddle are filled.

Step 3: Weaving

1) Threaded loom

2) Heddle lifted up and wood slat pulled through, then yarn (purple) pulled through
2a) Close up of Heddle up showing how yarn separates

3) Purple yarn pushed thight. Heddle pushed down and wood slat pulled through, then yarn pulled through
3a) Close up of Heddle up showing how yarn separates

4) Two rows of yarn pushed tight...

the process continues with more yarn...

Step 4: Weaving - Photos

Different colors of the yarn were wound on holders.

I lifted up the heddle. This lifted every other yarn.

I slid a narrow wooden stick (a wooden ruler would work) and then turned it on it's side.
This gave me space to insert my yarn on the holder and pull it through to the other side.
The wood stick was used to snug the yarn close to the edge..

Next, I pushed down up the heddle. This separated every other yarn (opposite from before).

Step 5: Finishing the Edges

When the entire length of the rug had been woven, the ends were cut from the end wood frames.

Each end was tied off to the one next to it.

The side edges were cleaned up by using a crochet hook with extra yard around the loose edges.

Step 6: The Finished Rug

The final product

The pattern of the rug is from repeating the same sequence of colors in both direction of the rug.

Thanks to instructables for inspiration and being a great resource!

And my other great resource, TechShop!

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    8 Discussions


    4 years ago

    One can always use a dowel with a thread tied around it and around every other strand this too will work as a heddle


    4 years ago

    Your rug is beautiful. You are very clever to have designed and so perfectly made your weaving machine. Thanks for sharring.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I've always wanted to weave. You did a great job creating your heddle and loom!

    Can you tell me how much length you lost when you tied off the ends? I see you wanted 36" and made a 40" loom. Did that 4" slack work?


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I wasn't paying attention to dimesions - used the surface of a table and the length of wood I had to determine length.


    This is very nice. It looks kind of difficult. But I would Love to try this sometime.


    6 years ago

    O never mind, I didn't read it right


    6 years ago

    I really love your idea but I don't understand it very well, could you make a video?


    Reply 6 years ago

    I've put away everything used to make the rug so not able to make a video. What don't you understand?